Dad’s Poached Eggs

I’m not really sure when Easter was reduced from celebrating the life and resurrection of Jesus to dying eggs with vinegar…and even further to stuffing plastic eggs with sugary treats…but I think that slippery slope has had an everlasting effect on Americans. Eggs and Easter are alliteratively associated (haha…ya like that?…I’m an English teacher, give me a break. Okay, I’ll stop).

So a few days ago on Easter, I woke up very early so that I could poach myself and my husband some eggs for breakfast before church.

When I was growing up, one of the most exciting breakfast treats was my dad’s poached eggs. This was a collaborative effort between my parents, and it was a highly elusive breakfast, because my mom had to make bread AND then my dad had to decide to poach some eggs, all in the same weekend. But when it happened, it was so great! In fact, I like this breakfast so much that it’s what I requested on the day I got married. (Weird, right? You’d think I’d go for chocolate chip pancakes given my choco-obsession…)

My dad’s poached eggs are unlike any others I’ve ever had: they are poached in milk rather than water. True, they don’t come out quite as beautiful, and yes, milk does burn on the bottom of the pan in the process, but the egg whites are firm and the egg yolk is like melted butter. Once you drop the eggs down on the toasted bread and pour a bit of seasoned milk over the whole thing, the simple notion of eggs and toast is transformed into a breakfast to remember.

Admittedly these are not great pictures, but I guess that’s pretty much what I should expect from making foods that are all white. 🙂

Season the milk and set it to boil.

Crack in the eggs as soon as the milk begins to fizz up.

Watch out! You don’t want the milk to boil over, so stop taking pictures and move the pot! (Er…experience talking.)

And there you have it! After 2 minutes of boiling, remove the eggs and set them atop a thick slice of Sunbeam White Bread. Don’t forget to pour a splash of seasoned milk over top.

Milk Poached Eggs

from my dad
serves 2

2 thick slices Sunbeam White Bread
3 cups milk, as needed
salt and pepper
4 eggs

Toast the bread and set on a plate. Butter lightly, if desired.
Meanwhile, liberally season milk and bring to a boil in a medium to large pot. When it begins to bubble up, drop in 2 eggs, 1 at a time.
Once the milk begins to boil gently for the second time, poach for 2 minutes more. Do not let the milk boil over. Use a slotted spoon to remove eggs from the milk. They will be done once they look solid on the outside.
Drop the poached eggs on top of the toast, then pour about ½ cup or less of the hot milk over the eggs.
Repeat for the second serving. (It may be ideal to scrape the burned milk from the pan before breaking in the second set of eggs.) There will be extra milk left over after both breakfasts are complete.
*Note: These eggs are best warm, so allow to sit for no more than 1–2 minutes before eating. This also means that each person might need to eat separately.


21 comments to “Dad’s Poached Eggs”

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  1. John - November 20, 2015 Reply

    These eggs are really enjoyable when they’re made right. I have been eating them for 50 years and you never let the milk boil that hard! You barely want it to simmer drop the egg in gently or multiple eegs if you wish. I usually do 2 cups of milk with 4 eggs bring the milk to a light simmer drop the eggs in lightly then I have a little trick at about 1 minute into cooking I add a teaspoon of white vinegar and start basting, and it makes the milk cheeses stick to the proteins in the egg whites and the eggs become fluffy and cheesy. Cook till the yolks just start to harden (for silky yokes, just more yummy) then put on your fresh buttered toast. You will notice that the milk way is a greenish blue color you don’t want to use that just accumulate the cheese and put it on top of the eggs then season to taste these are really yummy!

    • Melissa - November 20, 2015 Reply

      Thanks for sharing your favorite way to poach eggs in milk, John. While I almost always drop a splash of vinegar in water for egg poaching, I don’t really like buttermilk by itself too much, so I probably wouldn’t try this in milk. For me, this recipe is really about the hot milk and the thick slices of fresh bread and the way the yolk oozes out and soaks into the bread when you cut it. It wouldn’t be my dad’s specialty if I did it any differently! But I love how different people can find different ways to do something simple, like poach an egg just right!

  2. Elayne Grissom - March 28, 2017 Reply

    Whenever I was sick as a child, usually bronchitis, my mother would make poached eggs over milk. Today, I’m sick and I asked my husband to make the same. He said, “What?” Thank you for your site. I hear something happening in the kitchen. I’m 75 and if you don’t hear from me he did a great job. He’s a good cook.

  3. Diane Donald - June 5, 2017 Reply

    OMG! I thought I was the only one that had poached eggs this way! It started the same way Elayne had them. Mom made them when I was sick and yes mostly with bronchitis.Now when I am sick I crave them. My son surprised me this morning with poached eggs in milk! He knew I was feeling real bad and he found this recipe. Thank you for sharing!..

    • Melissa - June 5, 2017 Reply

      What a sweet story! Thanks so much for sharing, and I’m glad you got to enjoy some comfort food today!

  4. Rob - January 24, 2018 Reply

    Well, I guess Poached Eggs in Milk has been the “go-to” recipe for the moms of a select few children. This was also a treat for us when we were feeling puny. We used a low-sided wide pan to facilitate adding and removing the eggs, and tried to keep the heat to a low simmer, basting all the while. We never tried the vinegar trick, but I might next time.

    I’d be curious where the recipe originated. My mom had roots in East Tennessee and Kansas, but grew up in California.

    Can’t be scared of new experiences…just like fish tacos after a lifetime of beef tacos. I prefer beef, but now I know.

    “Live each day as if it were your last!” My new philosophy at the age of 71!

    • Melissa - January 31, 2018 Reply

      That’s a good philosophy! My father was a military brat, so he could have picked up the idea of milk-poached eggs anywhere along the Eastern Seaboard! Glad to meet someone else who views this meal as a worthy treat!

  5. rob young - February 5, 2019 Reply

    I’ve been eating these since I was an infant. My favorite all time breakfast. I never heard of anyone else making them. Good to know I’m not a freak. Lol.

    • Melissa - February 5, 2019 Reply

      Haha! Most people do look at me a little funny when I mention this recipe. Like…milk? soggy bread? What? But it’s so good! Glad to remind you of your childhood and show you there’s someone else out there who loves milk-poached eggs!

  6. Barbara - October 24, 2019 Reply

    I have been making a version of this for 40 years.
    I use a small frying pan with a lid.
    Start with a not too hot pan, big pat of butter, put the eggs in as tho you would fry them, then pour
    several TBS. of milk or soy milk over the, salt, pepper, close the lid and simmer until the whites are cooked.
    Put the eggs on toast, pour on the milk.
    Quick, easy, YUM>

  7. Samantha - December 9, 2019 Reply

    I’m 34 years old and today I learned that people actually poach eggs in water! Haha my mom has always made them this exact way. I thought it was the norm.

    • Melissa - December 16, 2019 Reply

      Haha! I think I was in my 20s before I realized this. I love that family food traditions can transcend “fashionable” or more common food techniques.

    • Wayne Castor - October 19, 2021 Reply

      Evidently this recipie has been around for a long time. I grew up having poached eggs in milk over toast. My Dad said that he had this when he was young. That would have been over 115 years ago. It’s my favorite but I couldn’t get my kids to eat them, but my Grandkids will. I wonder where this recipie originated, as I and my Father grew up in southern Kansas.

  8. Ellen - May 3, 2020 Reply

    When we were growing up, our mother always poached eggs in milk with a little butter added to it. My very favorite breakfast ever.
    I’d love to know where this recipe originated. Mother was born in New Mexico and grew up in Miami, FL.
    If anybody has insights about the origin, I’d love to hear them.

    • Melissa - May 4, 2020 Reply

      Ellen, I wish I knew where it came from! My best guess is that it’s a Southern tradition, although my dad’s family was military, which probably means it could have come from anywhere. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Jim grannon - May 17, 2020 Reply

    I like using some mexican crema and a tsp of butter to the milk and adding a dash of cayenne. Poach the eggs in this. And use it as gravy over the toast and egg.
    Recently discovered the wonders of crema and all its uses.

  10. Ana - May 26, 2020 Reply

    My Dad made these eggs for my brother and I frequently. I was born and raised in Miami FL. And my Dad is from southern Michigan. But he also was military.

  11. Renee - November 7, 2020 Reply

    I never knew anyone else poached eggs in milk! I do mine a bit different, I add cinnamon and sweetener to the milk and simmer the egg(s). I’ll try them the savory style soon!

  12. Kim Cheasebro - December 17, 2020 Reply

    My mom grew up in Nebraska and served these as a special breakfast. Second course was remaining milk over toast with brown sugar.

  13. Cherie - February 17, 2021 Reply

    i grew up with mum making bacon and eggs baked in the oven covered with milk. They were beautiful and i still love them.

  14. Sue - February 18, 2021 Reply

    This was a special blog. I am feeling u see the weather today. All I could think of was milk toast for breakfast. My grandmother and mother always made this of you were sick. Feeling sick this morning my memories came flooding back.
    I could t remember how it was done so I googled it. I came up with this sight. I never knew it was such a well known dish for feeling sick. So special to read plus I came across the
    “How too”! Heading to the kitchen now! I’m a Ga girl. So it looks like this is an all around the world recipe.

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